Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas
The Willie Randolph saga just won’t go away. Somebody (Omar Minaya? Fred Wilpon? Jeff Wilpon?) made a huge mistake in judgment in handling this very defensible firing. But it’s only gotten worse in the last 48 hours. Armed with a very easy schedule (Colorado and Seattle are a combined 35 games under .500), the Mets have been unable to get off to a good start under Jerry Manuel (2-2 against these awful teams, 3-3 overall). Manuel, an intelligent guy, immediately got multiple cases of foot-in-mouth disease with his now-famous (misunderstood?) fertilizer comments and I’ll cut him comments and gangster (oops, I mean gangsta) comments. He should know better.
Speaking of knowing better, let’s turn to Mets owner Fred Wilpon. Another very intelligent guy, maybe he just gets a case of brain lock when the cameras start rolling. How about this Monday comment from Wilpon: “The intent here, clearly, was to respect Willie and to respect his feelings and to do it in person.” Of course, this flies in the face of the multiple reports that state that Willie asked Minaya point-blank, before getting on a cross country flight, whether he was going to fire Willie and, if the answer to that was yes, “do it now.” Minaya, who had already spoken to Wilpon once (twice?) about firing Willie, didn’t fire Willie then under the now-famous “I wanted to sleep on my decision” defense. Instead, he showed his “respect” (I guess) by allowing Willie to fly out to Los Angeles, win a game against a very tough Angels team (third win in four games) and THEN fire him in person after midnight.
Which takes us back to the (alleged) respect factor. Willie and everybody else would have had a lot more respect for Minaya and the Wilpons if they had fired him before the flight to California. Once the “we wanted to do it in person” analysis took over, things went from bad to worse. The final scenario (firing him at 3 a.m. Eastern, as if nobody would notice in the internet age), unless the Mets have an incredible turnaround, will be discussed for years to come. While Wayne Gretzky once made the mistake of calling the New Jersey Devils a “Mickey Mouse” organization (although one could argue they were at the time), one can only wonder what he would have said about this situation.
As if all of this wasn’t bad enough, Fred Wilpon had to tell the media that their reports on the barren Mets farm system are simply wrong and that “it is obvious that they have played well” since Willie was fired. Well, only time will tell about the first although, by objective reports, it certainly seems that the Mets don’t have much in the minors. Besides, how would Fred Wilpon really know anyway? He’s simply regurgitating what someone (Minaya?) told him about his farm system. As for the Mets playing well, we’ve already stated (See Kallas Remarks, 6/17/08) that the timing of this change was partially due to the weak schedule (three games v. Colorado and three games v. Seattle) the Mets had coming up (because it would have been impossible to fire Willie if he had done well in that six-game stretch).
At 2-2 against these weak teams, it’s hard to say that the Mets are “obviously” playing well. In fact, it’s fair to say that the Mets are still stuck in the same rut they were in last week, last month and last season. Will this change? That remains to be seen.
But it’s hard to believe that Fred Wilpon believes that the “clear intent” in this firing was to “respect” Willie Randolph. Imagine what would have happened if they didn’t respect him? Unfathomable.
© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas. All rights reserved.